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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/35350
- Laying siege to the Stadtkrone: Nietzsche, Taut and the vision of a cultural aristocracy
Ostwald, Michael J.
- The University of Newcastle. Engineering & Built Environment, School of Architecture and Built Environment
- In 1919, in the tumultuous period following the First World War, Bruno Taut offered a proposal for an ideal town plan which he described as the Stadtkrone (city crown). Based on a cruciform plan, the layout grouped all cultural facilities of the city in the centre of the town, occupying its highest point. This central square became the site for the dominating meditative space of the “crystal-house”, surrounded by residential, business, recreational and industrial zones which step away from the centre giving the city its characteristic pyramid form. In Taut’s plan the political and institutional structures of the city have been replaced unceremoniously by artistic ones that now occupy the pinnacle of the cultural pyramid. Thus, a fundamental characteristic of the Stadtkrone is the emergence within society of a new cultural elite—now embodied and legitimised within the rigid form of the city. This paper will examine the way that the cultural elitism inherent in Taut’s project was an embodiment of the political thinking of Friedrich Nietzsche. In an era dominated by democratic and socialist doctrines, Nietzsche continually heralded the arrival of a new cultural elite that would transcend mundane and sterile political systems and legislate for the future. This aristocratic vision is often equated by Nietzsche with the metaphor of height and he prescribed an architecture of verticality to counter the horizontal homogeneity he saw as intrinsic to democratic and socialist doctrines. The paper demonstrates close correlations between Nietzsche’s political philosophy and the utopian vision of Taut most clearly depicted in the vertical stratification of the Stadtkrone project. The paper uncovers the theoretical and practical instabilities present in Taut’s Stadtkrone and traces the manner in which the ultimate assimilation of such forms of expressionism by the proletariat paradoxically lead to the collapse of the movement.
- XIXth Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand. Additions to Architectural History: XIXth Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand, Brisbane, Australia, 4-7 October 2002 (Brisbane, Qld. 4-7 October, 2002)
- Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand
- Resource Type
- conference paper
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